Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sun-dried Goodness

Today's recipe is another one that is low on the number of ingredients but very high on flavor: Thakkali Thokku , a sun-dried tomato spread at Delectable Victuals. Sheela's creative touch in the kitchen and her enthusiasm for trying all kinds of global cuisines never fails to amaze me.

Sun-dried tomatoes + Dried chilli peppers + Fresh tomato = A finger-licking good Tomato spread

It is fresh tomato season here where I live, but I had a dozen little sun-dried tomatoes sitting in a jar from last winter's pantry stash that I was itching to use up. Sheela's recipe calls for dried chili peppers to add to the goodness (I have a stash of those too, a gift from a friend who brought them from New Mexico).

If you live someplace with plenty of sunshine and maybe a roof or courtyard to lay out stuff to dry, you can make your own sun dried tomatoes. The drying concentrates the sweet tomato goodness, and sun-dried tomatoes can be used to add wonderful flavor to a huge variety of recipes.

This is how I made the spread, inspired by Sheela's recipe

1. Place 10-12 sun-dried tomatoes and 2-4 dried chilli peppers in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and let them steep for 10-15 minutes.
2. Drain off the water and place the re-hydrated chillies and tomatoes into a food processor.
3. Add one chopped de-seeded fresh tomato, a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional) and salt to taste. Process into a smooth paste.
4. Heat 1 T oil (I used gingelly/untoasted sesame oil) in a small pan and fry the paste for a few minutes until it comes together.

Sheela offers many delicious ways to use this spread. The day I made this, I served it with dosas. The next day, I used the leftover spread in a sandwich with cream cheese and slices of fresh, ripe tomato. The tomato overload sandwich was such a perfect summer treat!

This goes to MBP: Less is More.

Some other delicious condiments with few ingredients:

Shyam's Quick Mango Avakkai (Green mangoes, Fenugreek seeds, Mustard seeds, Chilli powder)

Anjali's Lime Peel Pickles (Lime peel, Mustard seeds, Red chilli powder, Sambar powder)

Shilpa's Morambo (Mango/Pineapple, Sugar, Cardamom)

I'll be back in a few days with something sweet!


  1. I love the layering of fresh and dried tomatoes. Sometimes the flavor of sun dried tomatoes can be too intense, overwhelming a dish, but with some sweet fresh tomato for balance, this paste sounds perfect.

  2. hi, i've never known of sun-dried tomatoes. This recipe is really different, n the picture shows the dish to be really savoury

  3. My Mom loves chilli in anything and the sweet hotness of this sounds perfect. I will try this.

  4. What an amazingly gorgeous find Nupur!
    Thanks for discovering such lovely nuggets:)

  5. This is the perfect way for me to use up a good jar of Sun Roasted tomatoes. The one I have are packed in oil, so I guess I won't have to re-hydrate them right?

  6. Hi Nupur,
    I've been a quiet fly on the wall all this time. I have to tell you your recipes are amazing and the blog is fun to read. Im going to try and be a regular comment-writer from now on!
    Quick thing about Thokku- I generally add crushed coriander seeds in the recipe.. tastes yummy!!!

  7. I can almost taste this now! I bet it would be great with pasta as well.

  8. Hey Nupur that pickle turned out more fun becoz it was to recycle the waste ;) plus it reminds me of the cute kids

  9. That looks delicious. A perfect spread.

  10. That looks good and sounds tasty!

  11. i had been meaning to sun dry some tomatoes in hyderabad where we had a lovely balcony that was always sunny. now i think i missed the bus. there is just not enough light, let alone sun, in my singapore apartment, and we dont have access to the terrace :(

    love the look of the thokku though so might try it with store bought dried tomatoes

  12. I love tomato thokku and this looks delish :-)

  13. Lydia, I agree- sometimes sun dried tomatoes are intense enough to be almost bitter. Here the flavor was just perfect!

    Shreya, Sun-drying tomatoes is a way of preserving the flavor at room temperature, same as we preserve other things like grapes (raisins), chillies etc. They are delicious and used a lot in Mediterranean cuisine, I think.

    Nikki Douglas, Do give it a try- it is just the tastiest spread and all chilli lovers will definitely love it.

    Delhibelle, LOL Yes, I have been discovering some awesome new recipes this month!

    Namratha, Right- you could just drain the oil and use the sun dried tomatoes as they are.

    TJ, Coriander seeds do sound like they would add a delicious touch.

    Lisa, So true- one could turn it into a sauce with some pasta water- it would make a kicked-up pasta sauce, and I think it would also be delicious in a cold pasta salad.

    Anjali, What a great idea to use every bite of the limes!

    Indosungod, Yes, it really was delicious :)

    Kevin, It was so tasty that I licked the bowl clean!

    Nags, I am sure you will find sun-dried tomatoes in Singapore. India in summer is definitely the perfect place for sun-drying anything and everything!

    Raaga, Thanks :)

  14. Hello Nupur
    I am from your hometown and I must tell you that your blog makes interesting reading and easy to follow recipes for starters in the kitchen.My daughter introduced me to your blog and ever since I keep a track of your culinary skill and not to forget your knitting.

  15. WOW. I'm a huge fan of sun-dried tomatoes. I'm trying this sooner than later. Thanks for this!!

  16. This truly sounds delicious. And so simple. I'm really enjoying this less-is-more theme on your blog!


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